35 Rules for Living a Happy, Spiritual Life

Here’s something to reflect on as we move into a new season. Do you have a generous countenance or do you hoard? Do you let go or must you always control? Are you courageous or too scared to go forward? Do you hope or do you despair? Do you recognize the abundance in life or do you see only the scarcity? Do you put your trust in Jesus or in politicians? Do you love or live in fear? Do you take time to notice things or are you always in too big of a hurry to care? Do ...
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The Sweet-tooth’s Survival Manual

I used to wonder what would happen if the connection to the grocery store was broken and my family was forced to survive on its own. Earlier this summer we picked up our household and moved to Oregon to find out. We’ve only lived in our new home for a few months, but every day I marvel at the way the earth provides. At the risk of seeming boastful, I just need to share. July was blueberry season. A neighbor showed me how to cut gallon milk jugs into picking tubs with a length of clotheslin...
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SAYINGS THAT GOT LOST ALONG THE WAY

Remember these? If you're over fifty you probably will. My list definitely reflects my Catholic upbringing. I'm surprised how many of these formed my outlook about life, and how many of them I used on my own children. My chores are finished. Anything else before I go play? Shame on me! It’s a personal point of honor. That goes against my grain. I saved up for it. I fudged. (I goofed.) Thanks, but I’ll wait my turn. It’s not urgent (I can wait.) This too will pass. O...
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Three Things About Moving

All my life I thought that having deep roots was the best possible thing. I loved being a Native Daughter of the Golden West. But when I traveled, I saw new cities where I wanted to live—in Italy, and France and Southern Oregon. I looked around and saw a whole world waiting to be explored. But to live thereI had to leave here. A dilemma, for sure. I know I’m not alone, wanting both worlds. I started questioning my old values. And once I started, I couldn't stop. If enough people believe so...
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Trading Paradise For a New Zip Code

Six weeks ago my husband and I joined the exodus of Baby Boomers out of  California. Leaving our state was a wrenching emotional decision, but the hardest part was explaining our decision to friends and family. We mentioned a slower lifestyle, a desire for four seasons, fairer tax rates, better hunting and fishing. It’s hard for them to understand. I get it. I’ve lost friends and family to the moving van. So why did we trade paradise for newer zip code? I’ve been a resident of the Centr...
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When Appliances Break Down: A Survivor’s Guide

Go on, life-hit me with your best shot. I’m studying the synchronicity of household appliances that are failing at the same time. Breakdowns seem to be “my thing” this month and I’m contemplating the downside of inconvenience versus the feeling of freedom from things electrical, followed all to quickly by a heightened sense of appreciation when they're all working again. My exercise began with a simple change in propane suppliers. The old company charges $85 to drain the tank if it is more...
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Three Ultimate Gifts from the Heart

Ever think about the gifts we give and receive--what they say about us as humans? Here's a list of alternatives that will change lives. I just finished reading a commentary by Nicholas D. Kristof, columnist for the New York Times. His post Mother’s Day article is about saving the lives of moms. Specifically it’s about fistulas, a consequence of childbirth when girls, most often third-world girls, get raped and impregnated when their bodies are small or malnourished. The details aren’t pret...
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California Casual–Is Rudeness the New Rule?

In California, we have a different way of doing things. For us, RSVP are four random letters that appear on the bottom of invitations, indicating nothing. An invitation means that someone is having an event and seeks your commitment. If you're naive or new to our way of doing things, you should understand that no one holds you to your promise. As everyone in California knows, an invitation is a mere technicality. The game plan is to throw it on the counter and fuggetaboutit! No worries. Th...
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Five Steps for Organizing the Closet After You Say Goodbye to 4” Heels

Feet Hurt? Is your closet overflowing with clothes you never wear? A plan for what to save and what to dump when you start to dress for comfort Going through my closet this week I began to realize that I'm a clothes hoarder. Even if I haven’t worn it in 10 years, I feel physically ill at the idea of parting with any of it. Sure, I watch “What Not to Wear”, but the problem is how do I finesse into a (ahem) Woman of a Certain Age. I asked my Magic Mirror and this is what she whispered to me:...
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